Jewish institutions receive Homeland Security funds

Jewish institutions receive Homeland Security funds

Jewish institutions in New Jersey are the recipients of $779,250 in grants from the federal Department of Homeland Security.

The appropriation — announced on June 29 — will be channeled to synagogues, schools, and agencies in what the government defined as the “Jersey City-Newark area.”

For security reasons, the recipients cannot be identified, but the monies are typically earmarked for federation buildings, Jewish community centers, schools, synagogues, and Jewish museums, according to Robert Bruce Goldberg, senior director for legislative affairs at the Jewish Federations of North America.

JFNA has sought federal dollars to secure Jewish institutions since the Homeland Security Department’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program began in 2005.

The recipients are permitted to spend funds on physical security improvements. The money cannot be used for hiring personnel, but it can be used for training guards as well as for surveillance, detection of intruders, and lighting, fences, and protecting access to buildings, Goldberg explained in a July 2 phone interview.

The appropriation to institutions in New Jersey is part of a $10 million allocation to Jewish organizations across the nation.

The $10 million figure represents a severe funding cut from the $19 million allocation to nonprofits in the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

“It is a reflection of the cuts which Congress made to homeland security programs,” Goldberg said. “We are in a period of fiscal austerity. But there are efforts under way to increase the funding for state and local security programs in the coming year. It is unfortunate, but the risks are there. And yet we are fortunate that the Department of Homeland Security and Congress recognize the risks are there.”

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